Dutch anti-Islam MP addresses New York mosque rally
Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders told thousands of people protesting against plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero on Saturday that it was time to take a stand.
"This is where we have draw the line," Wilders said before some 2,000 people fiercely opposing a Muslim organization's plans to build an Islamic cultural center close to the site where the World Trade Center once stood.
"America, New York, and Sharia are incompatible. New York stands for freedom," he told the crowd.
"That is why we are here today to draw a line today on this sacred spot. We are here in the spirit of America's founding fathers, we are here in the spirit today in the spirit of freedom."
"We must never give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us," Wilders added. "Draw this line so that New York... will never become New Mecca."
The firebrand Dutch politician, who calls Islam fascist and wants to stop Muslim immigration and the building of new mosques, walked out of talks earlier this month to form a rightist coalition government in The Netherlands.
He has been under 24-hour protection since 2004, after receiving death threats for his radical beliefs.
Wilders appeared at the New York rally as the city marked the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in which the World Trade Center was destroyed by Al-Qaeda militants riding hijacked planes.
He was joined at the protest by former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, as well as ultra-conservative radio chat show host Mike Gallagher.
Earlier a rally in support of the mosque project drew about 1,500 people. A tight police presence kept the two groups apart, though tensions were high with fierce arguments breaking out on the sidewalks.
© 2010 AFP